Perfumer Elizabeth Barrial’s had a vision for a company which drew aromatic inspiration from gothic art & literature, history, folklore, & witchcraft. That vision rose to reality with The (Black Phoenix Alchemy) Lab, or BPAL for short.
Now, 16 years later, BPAL has a full-time staff & a lab facility in North Hollywood — which they share with sister company Black Phoenix Trading Post (who does all the non-perfume products, like nail polish & atmosphere spray).
“There's a recent craze around the use of essential oils for fragrance & various kinds of therapy,” begins BPAL. That’s why, in addition to incorporating ingredients sourced from all over the world (including their own backyard) they use a quality that oil aficionados have come to expect.
BPAL is unique in that it has always imparted a fully-realized artistic vision; they have the luxury of being able to cover a beloved book or film from numerous angles — leaving no stone unturned. “That can result in dozens of very specific fragrances, like in our American Gods collection, instead of just two or three general ones,” they explain.
“That may seem like overkill to some, but what it usually means is there's something for everyone,” adds BPAL. Saying that, “of course, this requires us to be at least as nerdy about the details as our customers — on a good day, our nerdiness surpasses all.”
BPAL’s original blends - like Snake Oil & Dorian - are still some of their current bestsellers. So much so that they occasionally have trouble meeting the demand. They detail how usually in every new collection, one or two perfumes naturally rise to the top — like the Jareth in their Labyrinth collection. “That one's hardly surprising,” BPAL says. Adding , “we really never know which’ll end up striking a nerve with customers; some of our limited edition blends have become insanely collectible.”
This year, their new collection featured several pumpkin scents. And, “at this point, you've got to have a sense of humor about this season's pumpkin-related fanaticism — as well as all the backlash to it,” says BPAL.
But BPAL covers it from all sides: from the sensual & somber (like in Pumpkin Musk and Black Oudh, or in their election fundraiser scent Resistance), to silly & bizarre (like in Pumpkin Spice Sanguinem Menstruum, which was created for tampon drive benefiting the homeless).
BPAL reiterates how being this established allows them to get truly experimental. “Meaning we can create products that we know might not sell very well, but which may lure people off the beaten track of what they ever imagined a perfume could be,” they share. Like in their collection of scents inspired by goats in classical art. Or just taking inspiration from stuff that they personally find entertaining. Sharing that, “hopefully others will share our terrible sense of humor.”
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Check out more from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab by visiting them online (click here). Their main sites contain everything you need: you can search for individual scents, or for specific notes you're looking for in a scent.
And while their lab facility isn’t a proper retail establishment, once a month BPAL hosts a big open-house where anyone can come to sniff, sample, & purchase. You can learn more about these events by follow BPAL on Facebook, Twitter (@bpal), & Instagram (@blackphoenixalchemylab). Plus, you can check out & subscribe to their YouTube channel for more BPAL. “We're having a great time experimenting with little perfume commercials that end up being just as odd as our products,” teases BPAL about their channel.